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Consider Your Landscape In Your Snow Removal Plans

Snow removal can be dangerous to the health of your landscape plants. Certainly the safety of your family and visitors is the first priority when planning your attack on Ol’ Man Winter but risks to the landscape plants should also be taken into consideration.

Here are just a few of the hazards that can befall your valuable landscape plants after a snowfall:

• Salt Spray. When the snowplow clears your street, it deposits a spray of snow and salt spray. The snow is thrown up by the plow on the front of the truck and it’s, possibly, saturated with salt water from previous plow runs. And, pure salt water is thrown out the back of the truck as part of the deicing operation. Salt can kill grass and damage trees and shrubs, especially young ones, in the path of the spray.

The only remedy for salt damaged grass is reseeding in the spring. Trees and shrubs can be protected by wrapping them in burlap like you would to protect them from the wind or sunscald. Wood A-frame tents are also effective protectors.

• Snow Piles. Trees and shrubs, planted near the driveway, can be damaged by snow being piled up against them. Damage can be caused by snow being
thrown from a shovel or a snow blower or pushed by a plow. A plow is the most powerful and can exert enough pressure to topple a small tree.

If you’re a do-it-yourselfer you can take care to throw or blow the snow on the other side of the drive or in such a way as to avoid hitting the tree. If you hire a plowing service direct them not to pile snow against the tree but to pile it on the other side of the driveway.

• Avoid Divots. Perhaps the most common snow removal problem is the appearance of divots in the grass. These usually are from a blade extending beyond
the pavement and digging up pieces of sod along the edge of the lawn. Some may be found in the middle of the lawn.

Of the three most common snow removal methods – shoveling, blowing and plowing – shoveling is the gentlest. You can see and feel the edge of the pavement and seldom venture into the lawn. Blowing is also relatively gentle on the lawn. You should be able to see the snow blower well enough to guide it away from the lawn. Plows most frequently violate that line between the pavement and the grass.

A truck with a plow can’t aim as accurately as a shoveler or a snow blower operator. They put fiberglass poles on the plow so they can locate it and at the edge of the driveway to help their aim but still miss occasionally. Dealing with divots is a price you pay for having someone plow your drive. In spring you can usually replace the divots. If they are missing or mangled, you can reseed very easily.

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